Among the many ministries and personalities we study in the bible, the one that stands out for me and is one of my absolute favourites is the life and ministry of John the Baptist.
His ministry has to the one which has had the maximum impact on the New Testament church. Even though it did not last for a long time, it sure was powerful and has left a lasting impression on the history of the church. The evidence of it is the fact that till date we have not been able to separate the man from his ministry. His ministry, the work that was assigned to him and the work that he believed in became such an integral part of his life; that people started and still call him ‘John the Baptist’.
I would like to share with you some things I have learned from his life and ministry. I believe it will help many young leaders like me who are just getting started with ministry and I hope it blesses many seasoned leaders, too.
John the Baptist was next in line to be priest as was his lineage. If he would have stayed in the temple, sooner or later he would have taken over from his father, Zechariah and would yield all the benefits and perks that came along with the position. Instead he chose to wear camel skin, eat honey and locusts and preach in the wilderness. Instead of a life of honour, he chose a life of ridicule and controversy. He chose to preach the message of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins; and he was so good at it that Jesus continued to preach the exact same message upon John’s arrest.
Knowing his Call and Assignment
John knew the task that was given to him. He knew that he was only a messenger sent before the Messiah. He knew what he was cut out for and he was not afraid to accept it. When people asked him if he was the Messiah, he humbly denied it. In fact, he went a step ahead and told them that he was not worthy of even untying the shoelace of the Coming King. Today, we would see much more people reach their full potential in ministry if we knew, realised and accepted what we have been called for and do exactly that and move out of the picture.
John did not hesitate in shifting all the people’s attention away from him. We see that when he introduced Jesus to the world saying, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, he didn’t think twice about losing his audience to Jesus. Also, he did not regard the social standings of his audience. When he saw few Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he called them ‘brood of vipers’. His security did not come from the high numbers or the pedigree of the people in his meetings, but it came in knowing that the task given to him was completed in its season. If we see jealously the body of Christ today, it is because we have found our security in people and not in God and the mission he has entrusted us with.
Even though John’s ministry started much before Jesus’, he did not look out for preferential treatment. He introduced Jesus to the world and testified that he saw heavens open and the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus and that Jesus was the real deal and not him. He even allowed his disciples to leave him and follow Jesus. John’s ministry complimented Jesus’ ministry. Let us learn this very important lesson from John. We are called to complement each other so that we see our Father’s kingdom come (Click to Tweet). We are contemporaries not competitors.
Finally, I would like to remind us that we all carry the same call on our lives that John the Baptist did. John was a forerunner for Jesus. His job was to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming. We are forerunners for Jesus too and we are supposed to prepare the way for the second coming of Jesus. And this time, He is not coming as the Lamb but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Let’s make a way befitting to our coming King. Let us run and run well, just as apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.
There is so much more that we can learn from John’s life, but if we can start with the above mentioned points we will be able to achieve more for Christ and the Kingdom to come. The need of the hour is for the world to see many like John the Baptist to arise.
What are the things that you admire and have learnt from John the Baptist? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.